Rover

08 April 2020 | Punta Abreojos, Baja California Sur, Mexico
03 April 2020 | Bahia Santa Maria, Baja California Sur, Mexico
03 April 2020 | Bahia Santa Maria, Baja California Sur
02 April 2020 | Man O'€™ War Cove, Bahia Magdalena, Baja California Sur, Mexico
28 March 2020 | Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico
25 March 2020 | Ensenada de los Muertos, Baja California Sur, Mexico
24 March 2020 | Bahia de los Muertos, Baja California Sur, Mexico
23 March 2020 | Sea of Cortez, Baja California Sur, Mexico
16 March 2020 | LaPaz, Baja California Sur, Mexico
01 March 2020 | Playa Bonanza, Isla Espiritu Santo, Sea of Cortez, Mexico
26 February 2020 | San Evaristo, Baja California Sur, Mexico
23 February 2020 | Los Gatos, Baja California Sur, Mexico
19 February 2020 | Bahia Salinas, Isla Carmen, Baja California Sur, Mexico
16 February 2020 | Puerto Ballandra, Isla Carmen, Baja California Sur, Mexico
12 February 2020 | Caleta San Juanico, Baja California Sur, Mexico
06 February 2020 | Puerto Escondido
02 February 2020 | Agua Verde, Baja California Sur, Mexico
01 February 2020 | Puerto Los Gatos, Baja California Sur, Mexico
31 January 2020 | Puerto Los Gatos, Baja California Sur, Mexico
29 January 2020 | Puerto Los Gatos, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Passage to Abreojos

08 April 2020 | Punta Abreojos, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Eric
We left Bahia Santa Maria at 8 am 4/4/20. We planned a passage of three
full days and two nights underway to Punta Abreojos.

We’re conserving our fuel so we set sail within a half hour of raising
the anchor. And set the watches by 9 am. We’re using a modified Swedish
watch schedule that Linda came up with. We have individuals on watch
during the day with a designated “helper” on call. In a larger sense,
everyone is on call while off watch, with a secondary duty of resting to
prepare for their own watch. All the watches are 4 hours long: 6 am-10
am, 10 am to 2 pm, and 2 pm to 6 pm are the day watches. At 6 pm we all
have dinner together, a meeting if necessary and switch into “night
mode”. The night watches are: 6 pm to 10 pm, 10 pm to 2 am and 2 am to 6
am. Two people are on each night watch, with Rod or Eric as watch
leaders, Kay and Linda as watch standers. A little pencil and paper work
(that Linda did when she designed this system) will show that with 4
crew members and 3 watches of one person during the day and 3 watches of
two people during the night, the crewmembers will rotate through all the
watches and be on watch with various people, with the constraint that
Rod and I never stand watch together. Another feature of the rotating
nature of the Swedish schedule is that everyone gets at least one
eight-hour period off watch (sleeping) and that every fourth day each
person gets twelve hours off watch.

One of the downsides is that it’s a complicated system, so it’s posted
on the clipboard by the galley along with standing orders, sail plan,
and latest weather.

Chores are also assigned to each watch, so as crew rotate through the
watches, the chores automatically rotate among the crew.

When we’re offshore, we rotate through the watch changes, night watches
follow the day watches, and everyone gets behind on solid sleep. As the
wind rises and falls, and even as we tack in strong winds, extra hands
are sometimes required and the short sleep cycles are interrupted.

On passages we don’t see a lot of wildlife, but when it does appear it
is spectacular. A large pod of dolphins showed up at dawn as Kay and I
furled the stays’l at the bow, and Rod steered. They danced around the
boat for us as we did our work and then watched them until they
disappeared into the distance.

We’ve seen many whales at a distance but two of them made a close visit
while Rod was on an afternoon watch. He called “Whales” and Kay and I
rushed up the companionway to see two humpbacks paralleling our course
within a boat length. They sounded and then came back in a few minutes,
a couple of boat lengths away. Their curiosity satisfied, the next time
we saw them they were a hundred yards away.

We carry 90 gallons of fuel and may have to stretch it back to San Diego
if we can’t get more enroute. We’re self-quarantining in our (very) low
earth orbit capsule, and don’t want expose ourselves by going ashore to
fill jerry cans and shuttle them back to the boat if we can help it.
With that in mind, we sailed as much as possible.

Sailing even with unfavourable wind lead to long tacks, which lengthened
our actual distance travelled compared with the “crowflies” direct
route. We also sail even through low wind conditions, slowly. During
nighttime we reef (reduce sail area) to prevent midnight drama if the
wind comes up and allow easier motion for sleeping. We also had some
stretches when the wind was ideal for our sail plan and we blasted
along. High speeds were 7 and a half knots, although at that speed we’re
looking to reduce speed (and reduce stress on the boat and nerves of the
crew) down to around 6 knots. In calms, we saw 2 knots, in the wrong
direction.

Altogether the direct length (crowflies distance) was projected to be
175 miles, tacking resulted in an actual distance of 289 miles. Total
length of time underway was 77 hours, 14 minutes. Out of the 3- day
passage we ran the engine 6 hours, to charge batteries (it was overcast
half the time) and get in and out of the anchorages.

We arrived at Punta Abreojos at 1300 yesterday (4/7). The anchorage is
protected from the prevailing wind and seas by the point. We cleaned up
the boat, had (solar) showers, dinner and a game of cribbage and
everyone was asleep by 8 pm. The crew slept in until about 9 this
morning. Today was a day of boat projects until 2 pm (making freshwater,
yoghurt, muffins, brownies, minor repairs and improvements. At 2 pm, the
crew was stood down for the rest of the day to do naps, books and blogs.

Depending on weather, tomorrow may be the start of another overnight
passage.

--
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Fish for dinner

03 April 2020 | Bahia Santa Maria, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Eric Ahlvin | Sunny 70F, 10 knots from the north
Second blog post of the day.

Today was a work/rest day. We checked the weather last night and decided to wait a day here in Bahia Santa Maria. With that in mind, the crew were mostly sleeping in. Kay likes some quiet time in the morning alone in the cockpit, so she was the only one up, sipping her coffee when a panga with a couple of fishermen showed up at Rover (we were the only boat in the bay). Kay had a few words in Spanish and called for the captain. We figured out they wanted batteries for a handheld gps. We had spares, so gave them 4 AAs. I asked them if we could buy some fish from them for dinner and they agreed to come back in the afternoon.

Linda and Kay were playing cribbage when they saw a panga round the point and head straight for Rover. Kay called out “Eric, your friends are here.” When they arrived they had several 4-5 foot sharks and a basket of smaller fish (photo). We had some discussion about which type among the smaller fish was best for grilling and they sold us a Sierra and a Bonita (we think).

Linda’s cleaning the fish for dinner while Rod and Kay play cribbage.

Around the corner to Bahia Santa Maria

03 April 2020 | Bahia Santa Maria, Baja California Sur
Eric Ahlvin | Sunny 70F, 10 knots from the north
After a restful recovery day, we made the short day-sail on 4/2 from Mag Bay to Bahia Santa Maria.

As we headed out from Bahia Magdalena, we had all working sails (AWS aka All White Sails aka Main, Jib and Stays’l) set with no reefs. We were close hauled and hoped to make it to Bahia Santa Maria in one tack. We set up Ginger (the Monitor windvane) to steer and the wind built. We got up to 7.2 knots boat speed, tucked in a reef in jib and main and the boat speed only fell a little but the rail came out of the water. Shortly, as the wind built and our speed picked up past 7 knots again, we tucked the second reef in to the main and jib. The wind continued to build so we furled the jib entirely and were close hauled with stays’l and 2 reefs in the main, making 6 knots. By this point, we’d tacked twice and were headed into the bay. We found a calmer spot at the head of the bay and anchored for the night.

After checking the weather we decided to stay another day before the next leg (135 miles as the crow flies, directly into the wind, probably 55 hours). Today we knocked items off the To Do List including making fresh water, brownies, and yoghurt in preparation for tomorrow. The crew was stood down (given the rest of the day off) after lunch (photo of Linda and Kay playing cribbage).

Bashing to Mag Bay

02 April 2020 | Man O'€™ War Cove, Bahia Magdalena, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Eric
We're sitting at anchor at Man O'War cove, Bahia Magdalena. Overcast and
65. It'€™s 7 am and we'€™re getting ready for the day sail to Santa Maria Bay.

It was a 57 hour passage from Cabo San Lucas. (pot-leaving Cabo). There was some excitement
when the jib got away from the crew on the first night in 18 knots
breeze and the sheets wrapped around the furler with the jib all out and
flapping like a flag. I heard the commotion, got out of bed, went
forward, untangled the sheets and we got it in. No damage, except to
Linda's nerves. After that, we reduced sail and had a slow but safe
journey. Wind was up and down so we went out 28nm looking for wind.
Found it, set the jib with two reefs, stays'l, main with 2 reefs and
bombed back in at 7 knots. Good sailing until midnight 3/30-3/31 when
the wind died and we turned on the motor and motorboated in to Mag Bay.

Anchored at 1530 3/31, put the boat to bed, had sundowners, had dinner
and were in bed by 8 pm. The next morning (4/1), we got up, not at the
crack of dawn. The crew slept until 9. We had an easy day of boat chores
and navigation. After doing some navigation math on the trip from Cabo,
it looks like we'€™ll have fuel to get to Turtle Bay (with margin). Fuel
is available there.  We'll need to keep the ratio of sailing to motoring
(70%) similar to what we did on the first leg.

--
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Getting ready for the Baja Bash

28 March 2020 | Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Eric Ahlvin | Sunny and Clear, air temp 75F, water temp 77F, light breeze
We left Ensenada de los Muertos on 3/26 for Bahia Los Frailes. It was a light air day, but we expected to be able to fuel in San Jose del Cabo, so we used the motor. On the way we overheard a couple of other cruisers talking on the VHF about fuel availability, limited hours (0900-1300) at the pumps and the need for a reservation to get fuel at San Jose Del Cabo. We were briefly in cell phone range, so asked Ben to check out the situation and then we made a call for a reservation at 11 Friday. The air was light, but we were on track to arrive at Frailes in daylight, so we put up the main and drifter for a couple of hours.

Once we got to Frailes, I did the navigation for the trip to San Jose Del Cabo and realized we needed a 5 am departure to make our 11 am reservation. We went to bed early and then raised anchor in the dark and got underway. It was good practice with the crew for the next legs. We made it to San Jose del Cabo and went directly to the fuel dock. We were fueled and off the dock in a half hour, maintaining distance from the attendant. As we pulled away I noticed the attendant using hand sanitizer and washing his hands. We did the same.

From San Jose del Cabo to Cabo san Lucas the wind was light again but we were able to sail for an hour. We're sweating the amount of motoring we do because it's 1000 miles to San Diego, and we can carry fuel to go 640 miles. There are a couple of possible places to get fuel, but we pretty much need to stretch our fuel. The good news is that we're on a sailboat. Rover sails pretty well to weather (prevailing winds will be against us) and in light air. With the solar power we have on board, we shouldn't have to use diesel to make electricity. We're also not on a strict schedule, which should alow us to pick and choose our weather windows to maximize sailing and minimize motoring.

We arrived in Cabo San Lucas and anchored right off the beach. Very few boats were here and the beaches were mostly deserted. We jumped in for a quick swim (photo) and then a shower on deck. After the 5 am departure, we were pretty tired, so bedtime was 8 pm.

It looks like the next two days will be a good weather window, so today (3/28) was spent on preparation (navigation, making yoghurt and bread, making water, cleaning) for a dawn departure tomorrow for a 49 hour passage.

It will be the first leg of the Baja Bash.

A work day then a day off

25 March 2020 | Ensenada de los Muertos, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Eric
We’ve been anchored at Ensenada de los Muertos for two days. Weather is
clear, 75 F during the days and 15 knots of breeze in the anchorage. No
swell or waves where we are.

Yesterday was a work day. We needed to repair the stackpack sail cover,
which connects the lazy jacks to the boom before sailing again. We also
needed to untangle the twisted tangle of fishing line that the tuna made
while we were busy sailing and he was being towed. After breakfast we
went over the To Do List (TDL). Besides those items it also included
making yoghurt and desalinating water as well as a few small items.

The stack pack was one that Linda had designed. It’s worked very well
but was never tested in 25 knots gusting to 28. The top of the boom has
a slot running the length of it for a bolt rope on the foot of a sail.
Our sail is loose footed (only attached to the boom at the forward and
aft corners). We had inserted sail slugs in the slot, and through each
sail slug had passed some short lengths of webbing with female “Common
Sense” fasteners at each end. The bottom edge of the stack pack sail
cover had a strip of webbing sewn on it with a row of male "€œCommon
Sense"€ fasteners attached. The webbing survived but the male "Common
Sense" fasteners had been pulled out of the stack pack sail cover.

The fix was to replace the male "Common Sense"€ fasteners with grommets
and replace the webbing straps and female "Common Sense"€ fasteners with
dyneema soft shackles that go through the sail slugs and the grommets on
both sides of the sail cover. Linda had plenty of grommets, and knows
how to make soft shackles from the dyneema we keep on board.

I started the watermaker when the solar input was large enough to keep
up with the load and Rod and I untangled the fishing line while Kay
worked with Linda on soft shackles. By the end of the day we’d finished
all the items on the TDL and were ready to reassemble the stack pack and
lazy jacks. They went together well, and look like they’ll work great.

We celebrated with solar showers then tuna for dinner, again.

After a hard day of sailing and then a work day, the crew wanted a day
off. Linda made the decision by sleeping in, then cooking a large
breakfast. As we were sitting in the cockpit after breakfast, reviewing
the weather and plans for the day, I saw a spout. The meeting was
postponed as we watched a couple of whales cruise through our end of the
bay within a couple hundred yards.

It'€™s about noon now. We practiced raising and lowering the pole with the
new crew, knocked a couple of items off the TDL and now Linda is making
tuna tacos for lunch. On the agenda for this afternoon: reading, naps,
maybe a swim.

--
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www.ocens.com
Vessel Name: Rover
Vessel Make/Model: Valiant 42
Hailing Port: Seattle. WA
Crew: Eric and Linda
About:
We're making a big change to a cruising lifestyle. Eric retired in 2012 after 32 years in R&D (mostly) at HP. Previous passions included flying and bicycling. Linda will retire in 2013 from Oregon State University. She's been active in Zonta, was a Scoutmaster, and is a champion baker. [...]
Extra: Linda was barrel master and Eric participated in the Jackson Street Vintners; a group of friends that made wine from 2000 to 2013
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